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Study Argues for Broad U.S. View of ABM Treaty

May 13, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration today sent Congress a report arguing that President Reagan is not bound by a strict interpretation of the anti-ballistic missile treaty, but the White House said it is still studying the report.

Presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said the study by State Department legal adviser Abraham D. Sofaer has reviewed the negotiating and ratification record of the treaty.

The spokesman said that the report is one of several being done by the Administration and that Reagan has not yet decided whether to accept Sofaer's interpretation.

Critics of the Administration's "Star Wars" plans contend that the treaty should be narrowly interpreted, which would forbid testing and development of the more exotic technologies of the space-based anti-missile defense.

Backers of the Strategic Defense Initiative, such as Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, have pushed for the broad interpretation and testing of the components of the system.

Of Sofaer's study, Fitzwater said, "The summary conclusion would be that the President is not restricted to the narrow interpretation of the ABM treaty by either the negotiating record or the ratification record."

The spokesman said the President has received one study on "Star Wars"-related technologies from the Pentagon and will get another study in June.

"He has not made a decision. Until we have reached the overall decision that the President will be making on the course of the SDI program, I would not construe that any final decision had been made on any part of that," Fitzwater said.

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